The Yellow Dog Blog

More meaningless ramblings from another guy you don't know

Monday, February 14, 2005

This sounds right to me

Despite all of the protestations to the contrary, I've been skeptical about North Korea's nuclear status from the beginning. I don't doubt that they would very much like to have nuclear weapons, and from all evidence it appears that they posess enough plutonium to make one.

However, owning the plutonium and being able to manufacture a nuclear bomb are two very different things. Now, we're hearing an official from the South Korean government voicing the same caution about the situation.

"It's definite that North Korea possesses 10 to 14 kilograms of plutonium that can make one or two nuclear weapons," he said. However, he said there was no "conclusive evidence that North Korea made plutonium bombs" with the material, but that other countries suspect North Korea has one or two nuclear bombs.

When the NoKo's openly declared their nuclear status for the first time last week, it had the ring of someone who doth protest too much. This was not only an excuse for Pyongyang to get out of the six party talks, but to try to force Washington's hand. More than anything else, they want direct, bi-lateral negotiations with the U.S. North Korea's economic situation only gets worse and the announcement appears to be a desperate attempt to extract aid that will postpone its collapse a little longer.

Look for the administration and its closer partners in the six-party effort to continue its position of rejecting any idea of one-on-one negotiations. North Korea is not a distraction that the U.S. needs at this time (Iran is clearly the next item on the agenda) and certainly doesn't want an open conflict. In addition, they probably believe that delays in the process can only work toward their advantage by letting North Korea move closer to collapsing of its own weight.


... (James) Baker told the host, George Stephanopoulos, that "there's a big gap" between abandoning the six-nation negotiations that had been sporadically under way for the past 18 months "and going to military force."

"There are many things we can do," Mr. Baker added.

"Quarantine?" Mr. Stephanopoulos asked.

"Quarantine is one," Mr. Baker said. "And perhaps the best one, of course, is sanctions by the United Nations Security Council for North Korea's violation of her promises to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the global community."

More evidence that islation and economic strangulation is the weapon of choice. I'm not holding my breath on those Security Council sanctions, however.


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